Three Turkish soldiers were killed during fighting in and around the Libyan city of Misrata, local sources told Al Arab daily on Friday.
Six others were injured, the sources said. The bodies of the dead soldiers have been transported to Misrata airport.
General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA) are pushing to take Misrata, located in western Libya and a key stronghold of the U.N.-recognised Libyan government in Tripoli, which is backed militarily by Turkey. The offensive comes after Haftar’s militia took control of the coastal city of Sirte.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced last month that his government was sending military personnel to Libya to help train and advise the army of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. Turkey’s parliament approved the deployment this week. Countries including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, who support Haftar, have vehemently opposed Turkish involvement.
The deaths of the three soldiers were also confirmed in a tweet by the Libya Review, which has close contacts with Haftar’s forces.
On Wednesday, Haftar’s air force pounded targets in southern Misrata, claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties. Haftar’s militia were planning to take Misrata before the arrival of any Turkish troops, a senior LNA commander told Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Aswat.